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WSU study: Pot shops more likely to be found in poorer areas

Marijuana has generated mountains of revenue for Washington state. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A new study from researchers at Washington State University found that marijuana stores are more likely to be located in poorer, less-educated neighborhoods throughout Washington state.

The research is based on data from the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board as well as census information that tracks median income, education, and employment, among other factors, according to the News Tribune.

While the correlation exists, the researchers are not making concrete assumptions based on the data. They say this trend could be due to local laws that strictly limit where a pot store can open, the lower cost of real estate in the areas, and potential higher demand nearby.

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Graying the results further, a recent study by the market-research firm Nielsen also found that adults in the Seattle area who consume cannabis have a median household income of about $78,000. Those who smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products average around $59,000. Cannabis consumers are also a lot more likely to be college graduates than nicotine users or vapers.

Seattle is one of just three cities in the country where marijuana use beats products containing nicotine.

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More than 700,000 people age 18 and older in the Greater Seattle Area have consumed cannabis in the past 30 days, reports The Seattle Times. That’s approximately 17 percent of the population, whereas 16 percent used nicotine products like cigarettes and e-cigarettes, among others.

For the WSU study, researchers are further looking into how the proliferation of marijuana stores in poorer neighborhoods is impacting them, and how it might be altering crime and health in the area.

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